// It started with Jonathan Gottschall //
“You spend 6 years of your life dreaming,” he says in his book, Storytelling Animal.
2,190 days running away from our enemies, crashing in cars, getting killed by strangers, showing up naked in high schools.
Our dreams are rife with struggle, and for good reason, says Gottschall.
They’re stories that help us practice for real life.
// Enter the rabbit trail //
79 years of real life
26 years sleeping
7 years TRYING to sleep
4.6 years eating
13 years working
8 years TV’ing
3 years Instagramming
3 years vacationing
1.4 years exercising
1 year romanticizing (Not sure I even want to know what that even means)
1 year socializing
115 days laughing
= 8.2 years left to actually LIVE your life*.
(Disclaimer: Don’t do the math. It doesn’t quite add up. But I’m confident that if we add an algebraic equation in there somewhere, then x (79-y) will somehow magically equate to 8.2.)
// Your exclusive invitation to enter Rabbit trail #2 //
Yesterday, I watched 14 Peaks, a Netflix documentary on Nimsdai (Nims) Purja, a fearless Nepali mountaineer who set out to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in just 7 months.
The first guy to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks was Italian Reinhold Messner in 1986.
It took him 16 years to do it.
27 years later, Kim Chang from South Korea took on the challenge. It took him 7 years.
In an act of near maniacal sensibility, Nims Purja looked at those records, sized them up, and then decided he could do it, too. Only he would require a mere 7 months.
No one believed.
They all swore failure.
But he assembled his team, remortgaged his house, dubbed his endeavor Project Possible, and put his doubters to shame. One summit at a time.
I’m not going to spill all the details (because it’s definitely worth a watch), but clearly, when you scale summit after summit (whether you do it in 16 years, 7 years, or 7 months), you tend to get a little philosophical about life.
I’m not sure if it was Nims or one of his sherpas that made this next statement, but it made me grab my phone and open my notes, because this is where my rabbit trails began to converge.
// Life is absurd //
“Most of us are forgetting that from the beginning of our life, we are approaching death. Life is absurd. But you can fill it with ideas. You can fill it with enthusiasm. You can fill your life with joy.”
It was a revelation Nims and his sherpas had experienced over and over again as they trekked each summit, and it became a clarion truth as immovable as the mountains beneath their feet: From the moment of conception, we are being knit together for life. . . and yet, somehow, at the same moment, we have also begun the process of death.
This harsh duality not only shaped their lives. It directed their every move.
// I climb every day so that I can live //
Of course, reaching the summit was exhilarating, and certainly, it was life-changing.
“Your soul becomes a part of the mountain,” Nims said of the summit.
But Nims and his sherpas knew that the summits couldn’t sustain life because summits (though alluring and beautiful) weren’t made for settling.
In fact, when they’d reach the summits, they’d find the same reality over and over again.
The summit was too cold,
too high for life to flourish,
too atmospheric for oxygen to exist.
So they did what every climber knew to do: They’d turn around immediately and start their journey back down the mountain.
If you really want to learn how to live, Nims said, then you won’t find those lessons on the summit. Instead, you’ll discover them on the climb – the H.A.C.E.- induced delirium, the snow storms, the stranded climbers, the lack of money, the near project-ending blockade from China.
“When you are in the mountains,” he said, “you find out who you really are.”
Just like Jonathan Gottschall’s dream theory: It is the struggle that prepares you for real life.
// The Convergence //
If he’s right (and if it’s true that out of the estimated 79 years of my life, I have just 8.2 of them to truly live), then it all has me wondering: What am I doing with that time?
Am I trying to force myself to linger high on the summit where life cannot possibly flourish?
Or am I boldly and doggedly committing to the climb?
When I help my clients find and tell their brand stories, we focus on finding the stories of their climb. These are the stories that help lead them to their own summits, and they’re the stories that help them find their way back down to their audience, too.
My clients invite me into their journeys so I can hear them, listen to them, question them, and partner with them to uncover the mystery of the life they’re chasing and the legacy they’re trying to leave behind.
I recently had the distinct pleasure of working alongside Predictive ROI. Their new copy launches in January, and here’s what Stephen Woessner, founder and CEO, had to say about our experience together.
I read through each piece and am experiencing a myriad of emotions, Lindsay.
Everything from…holy bananas…she really gets us…to…this is off the charts amazing how she was able to pull these insights and experience out of the conversations she had and create two brilliant case studies…to…wowza…that’s a frickin’ awesome home page.
You asked us great questions, you heard us, you asked our clients great questions, and you heard them…and then…you took this enormous amount of data points and ran it through your super smarts and wrote content we could never have done.
You made us real, tangible, guys who just want to help. Absolutely amazing.
You orbit a distant moon of awesome!
You’re the best content strategist and writer someone could hire for their project. No one else will make them feel the way you do – or – deliver what you will deliver.
I’m starting to fill my calendar for 2022. If you’re ready to find your own story (and start telling it well), let’s talk.
*Your Life in Numbers, The Sleep Club, https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleep-matters-club/your-life-in-numbers-infographic/.